Tag Archives: ontario provincial election 2007

John Tory

“John Tory is a decent, hard-working, worldly and intelligent man… He never had a chance.” – Andrew Steele

For the record (immature reactive cheap-shots notwithstanding), I like and respect John Tory, and my heart goes out to him today. I disagree with him on many issues, but he comes by his positions thoughtfully and defends them with honesty and integrity. Would that we could say that about more politicians.

In the end, it turns out Tory was a bad politician—not because of who he is, but because of who we expect politicians to be.

That’s not to excuse or exonerate him completely. I would not have made many of the same decisions he did, and ultimately only he can be held accountable for his own performance. I just think it’s worth reflecting on what kind of political leadership we want in this country, and comparing that to the types of people we tend to vote for. Seems to me there’s a disconnect.

And finally, still for the record, the great religious schools debate of October 2007 (sometimes referred to as the Ontario General Election) should live on as Dalton McGuinty’s great shame, not Tory’s. At least Tory was taking a principled position on equality (it was the wrong principled position on equality mind you, but still). The Liberals and the NDP, on the other hand, formally adopted the position that they favour and support religious discrimination, and played on xenophobic sentiment towards people of faith in order to do it. As Andrew Coyne puts it:

History will record that the premier of Ontario, in the year 2007, could begin a televised debate with a veiled — you should pardon the expression — warning that the Conservatives’ religious schools proposal would mean “strife in the streets,” of the kind witnessed in “Paris and London.” Hmmm. Paris… London… What sort of strife could he have meant? Could he have had in mind… the Muslim kind? The beauty of it was, the Liberals never had to say it out loud: “eek, a Muslim!” The premier could appear to be singing the same old hymns to tolerance and pluralism, even as he was exploiting much darker sentiments.

Yes, let’s hope historians—and voters—are paying that much attention.

UPDATE (Saturday, 8:10 am): Today’s Globe editorial:

Both his personal defeat, and the party defeat, can be interpreted as a setback caused in some measure by a principled stand taken by Mr. Tory. He thought it proper to run in a constituency in which he had personal ties, and he thought that Roman Catholics should not be the only faith group to receive publicly funded religious schooling – that addressing this historic inequity was the correct thing to do. But as political decisions both were failures, and Mr. Tory was aspiring to be premier, not an ethicist.

…His critics will now have an opportunity to find a better leader, although they will be hard-pressed to find a better person.

Greens Surge

The Green Party of Ontario surged in popular support last night, almost tripling its vote to 8%. In what was a status quo election, we are the only party to have gained ground, and we’ve done so at an incredible rate. In addition, it’s interesting to note that the Greens came second in this year’s Student Vote, beating both the NDP and the PCs. Momentum is clearly ours.

In Bruce-Grey Owen Sound, Shane Jolley made us proud by breaking records and coming second with 33.5% of the vote, more than double that of the third place Liberal. In other ridings across the country–including Guelph and Barrie–we placed third with strong results that affected the outcome of the election. Despite the predictions of pundits and the wishes of our opponents, our support did not evaporate in election day. We’ve reached the tipping point where the Greens are a serious party that a large cross-section of Ontario is proud to support.

Update: We came third in 16 18 ridings (including Don Valley West where John Tory ran) and had 21 campaigns finish north of 10%. I’m very impressed.

Here in Toronto Centre, Mike McLean pulled an impressive 9.67% of the vote, a huge increase that represents almost half of either the NDP or PC support. The Green Party is now a serious factor in this riding, and my optimism for the next federal election, be it general or by, has been solidified.

As for the referendum results, I’ll comment on them in a separate post once I stop swearing and throwing things.

TVO Battle Blog: Final Thoughts

Crossposted to tvo.org. Final question before election day: “Over the Thanksgiving weekend, as voters try to decide who they will choose at the ballot box, what should they think about as they make up their mind?” (400 word limit)

What do you really value? What kinds of politicians and polices do you want to reward?

In terms of what specific issues are important, I haven’t really changed my mind since day one of this TVO blog. The decisions that the next government makes over the next four years on environmental and energy policy will have an extremely long-lasting impact, so we absolutely have to get them right.

I strongly urge people to vote for the party or candidate they most believe in, just as they’d expect their MPP to always vote for what they believe is right. The real danger in “voting for someone you don’t want to keep someone even worse out” is that you can never be sure if you’re getting the results you want. For example, we now know that Shane Jolley, the Green candidate in Bruce Grey Owen Sound, is polling ahead of the Liberal and NDP candidates and has a shot at overtaking the incumbent Conservative. I bet there are at least a few Green voters in that riding who are thinking of voting for another party to avoid “wasting their vote,” not realizing that the Green candidate actually has the best chance. That happened in Elizabeth May’s by-election in London North Centre as well. When you vote strategically, the results are uncertain. When you vote your conscience, however, you can be sure of two things: 1) you’ll send the strongest message possible to whoever wins about what you value and what solutions you want to see implemented, and 2) you’ll feel good about your vote, for once.

It’s also critical that families and friends talk to each other about MMP this weekend. Go straight to the source, and find out what the Citizens’ Assembly is recommending and why. While I can find flaws with MMP, I can find none with the democratic and open process that was used to create it. People on both sides of the debate have loved to nitpick at details, but when we look at the big picture, it’s clear that MMP is a needed improvement over our current system. If we believe that Ontarians know what’s best for Ontario, then we must support this recommendation that came from the people. If we don’t believe that citizens know best, then we should maybe rethink this whole democracy thing.